Xerophthalmia

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xerophthalmia

[‚zi‚räf′thal·mē·ə]
(medicine)
Dryness and thickening of the conjunctiva, sometimes following chronic conjunctivitis, disease of the lacrimal apparatus, or vitamin A deficiency.

Xerophthalmia

 

an affection of the eyes expressed in dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea. It arises as a result of disturbance of tear secretion and chiefly of trophic disturbances. One of the immediate causes of xerophthalmia is avitaminosis A; it may arise in children when there are severe gastrointestinal diseases. The most frequent causes of xerophthalmia are trachoma, pemphigus, and chemical burns of the eyes. It is manifested by a sensation of dryness and pain in the eyes and heaviness of the eyelids; the cornea becomes cloudy and may undergo irreversible cicatricial changes. Vision is decreased.

Xerophthalmia is treated by medication; good results are obtained by transplanting the excretory duct of the parotid gland to the conjunctival sac to restore moisture to the eye.